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Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life - Softcover

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9780345450401: Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life
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Writing with bracing intelligence and clarity, internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance: the rift between science and religion. Instead of choosing them, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm?

In his distinctively elegant style, Gould offers a lucid, contemporary principle that allows science and religion to coexist peacefully in a position of respectful noninterference. Science defines the natural world; religion our moral world in recognition of their separate spheres of influence. In exploring this thought-provoking concept, Gould delves into the history of science, sketching affecting portraits of scientists and moral leaders wrestling with matters of faith and reason. Stories of seminal figures such as Galileo, Darwin, and Thomas Henry Huxley make vivid his argument that individuals and cultures must cultivate both a life of the spirit and a life of rational inquiry in order to experience the fullness of being human.

In Rocks of Ages, Gould’s passionate humanism, ethical discernment, and erudition are fused to create a dazzling gem of contemporary cultural philosophy.

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Review:
Revered and eminently readable essayist Stephen Jay Gould has once again rendered the complex simple, this time mending the seeming split between the two "Rocks of Ages," science and religion. He quickly, and rightfully, admits that his thesis is not new, but one broadly accepted by many scientists and theologians. Gould begins by suggesting that Darwin has been misconstrued--that while some religious thinkers have used divinity to prove the impossibility of evolution, Darwin would have never done the reverse.

Gould eloquently lays out not "a merely diplomatic solution" to rectify the physical and metaphysical, but "a principled position on moral and intellectual grounds," central to which is the elegant concept of "non-overlapping magisteria." (Gould defines magisteria as a "four-bit" word meaning domain of authority in teaching.) Essentially, science and religion can't be unified, but neither should they be in conflict; each has its own discrete magisteria, the natural world belonging exclusively to science and the moral to religion.

Gould's argument is both lucid and convincing as he cites past religious and scientific greats (including a particularly touching section on Darwin himself). Regardless of your persuasions, religious or scientific, Gould holds up his end of the conversation with characteristic respect and intelligence. --Paul Hughes

About the Author:
“Daring and thought-provoking . . . A lively retelling of the very real conflict between creationism and evolution in America.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“ILLUMINATING . . . A RICH TAPESTRY OF FACT AND ANECDOTE . . . [Stephen Jay Gould] engages us with evident delight in the subtle dance of language and ideas. . . . Reading it, we feel ourselves in the great tradition of Montaigne and his successors.”
Los Angeles Times

“ENTERTAINING . . . GOULD MAKES HIS POINTS WITH AUTHORITY, INSIGHT, AND HIS TRADEMARK GOOD HUMOR.”
The Christian Science Monitor

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  • PublisherBallantine Books
  • Publication date2002
  • ISBN 10 034545040X
  • ISBN 13 9780345450401
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages256
  • Rating
    3.53 avg rating
    ( 1,091 ratings by Goodreads )

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780099284529: Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

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